How to Plan a Road Trip From Los Angeles, California to Cleveland, Ohio

Planning a road trip helps you be more prepared for your trip.
Planning a road trip helps you be more prepared for your trip. (Image: road trip image by Blu-Mu from

Planning is crucial when attempting to make a cross country trip. When planning a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Cleveland, Ohio there are several factors you must take into account. Planning such a long trip may seem like a daunting task, but properly preparing will help you avoid situations which could waste both time and money.

Schedule an appointment with your mechanic to have your car’s driving and safety components thoroughly inspected in preparation for your trip. This is probably the most important step in planning your road trip and shouldn't be skipped, especially when taking a trip that is practically cross-country. It’s a safe bet to have your car’s oil serviced as well as refiling any fluids that may be running low. Also, have your car’s tires and brakes checked over for wear and damage.

Take necessary documentation such as a valid driver’s license, insurance card and car registration form. Without it you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation with the law.

Select an appropriate budget for the trip. Account for fuel cost and any other costs such as food, road-side attractions and hotels. The distance from LA to Cleveland is around 2,300 miles and you should expect to pay around $300 to $350 in gas on the way, as of early 2011. The trip itself will take roughly two days to complete, so if you plan on staying at a hotel on the way, make reservations.

Bring along some music. You may find that your favorite radio frequencies will emit nothing but static or music you don't like. Bringing your own CDs or an MP3 player can help you maintain your sanity.

Stock your car with anything you’ll need on the way such as snacks, drinks, garbage bags, pillows and sunglasses. These will keep you from spending extra money on the road and you'll be better-prepared for long distances between rest stops or a lack of good places to eat.

Pack a few extra changes clothes and bring sanitary supplies like soap and toilet paper.

Map your route beforehand -- including pit stops -- to avoid getting lost or having to pay unnecessary tolls. The fastest route to Cleveland from LA is also the scenic and entertaining one. By taking Interstate 15 out of LA and heading straight down I-70, you can stop to enjoy the fast pace and bright lights of Las Vegas, and the scenery in Denver, Colorado. Once you're driving on I-80, you can take a small detour and head to Chicago. There you can visit an art museum or enjoy some famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can sign up for a road service plan for added security against sudden road-side breakdowns.

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